Back It Up!: Copy Your Data and Keep it Clear of Your Computer (Hypertext Student Newsletter)

Most of us forget about backing up our computer data until an emergency arises—smoking computer, vanished documents, flood—at which point it's too late. Why not start this year off right by following this helpful guide to backing up data.

How Often Should Data Be Backed Up?
The more important the data, the more often you should back it up, but it's generally a good idea to back up monthly. If you find yourself forgetting, consider linking the task to some other regular event, such as payday, the day rent is due, or the day after finals; that way, you'll be far more likely to stick with your new backup habit.

Backing Up Data: Explore Your Options

  • Floppy Disc.
    Unreliable, minimal storage,and unsupported by newer computers. Having said that, if floppies are all you have, take advantage of them.
  • Super Floppy Disc.
    Sometimes called by the brand name "Zip." Hold far more data than floppies, but can fail without warning and are no longer commonly used. You're better off making the jump to CDs.
  • CD, DVD.
    Safe, sleek, and portable. This is the best backup solution for most home computer users, and you can buy rewritable discs for reuse.
  • Online Storage.
    Automated and keeps your data safe from disasters, but your computer must be on and connected to the Internet while backing up. You should have a high-speed Internet connection to use an online service; without it, backing up time increases dramatically.

Data Storage: Not Just for Word Docs Anymore
There's information on your computer that you might not think to back up: email address books, email archives, Web site bookmarks, etc. IT Express has developed a how-to guide for taking care of these items. Visit email.ucdavis.edu/backup for instructions.

Finally, make sure you have handy the original installation discs, serial numbers, and licensing keys for your software programs. If something happens to the programs on your computer, or if you buy a new computer and want to use the old programs, you'll have them ready to install.

Is That It? Well, Nearly...
Don't forget to check occasionally to make sure your data backup device is working. That way, when you actually need the data, you know it will be there for you, and this new year will be a happy one.

Need Help?
Visit security.ucdavis.edu/csb_databackup.cfm or call IT Express at (530)754-HELP.